If you are an incoming freshman to college, you may have heard about the infamous “Freshman 15,” and if you are anything like I was you are adamant that you will not get it. Well, I got it anyway, but what I regret more than the extra weight is that I was not better about maintaining good general health my freshman year.
Maggie Beem, Truman State University soccer player, believes that how you take care of your health during freshman year could set the precedent for your next four years and beyond.
“Since this is your first time being on your own, you’re creating your own eating habits and workout habits, and lifestyle habits in general, so aside from whatever you were taught, you are doing it all on your own here,” Beem explained.
Diet and exercise are two things that Beem says are extremely important to maintaining good health. She said it is surprising how fast you can gain weight and get out of shape.
One thing she does to maintain her health is plan out her days with a calendar, including her workouts and meals. She said another trick she uses to eat healthy is to reward herself every few weeks with a day of eating exactly what she wants.
“You can’t deny yourself the things that you want,” Beem said. “If you go into the dining hall and you want a piece of pizza, have a piece of pizza, but don’t have seven pieces of pizza.”
Beem admitted that she wishes she had been more intentional her freshman year in planning out her diet and exercise.
One of the places that students can go to get assistance with their exercise routines is the student Recreation Center. Campus Recreation Director Susan Limestall said the Rec Center offers multiple ways to add some activity to your day.
“Be active,” Limestall emphasized. “Be as active as you can, but be balanced, because you are here as a full-time student.”
Limestall said a lot of research from the medical field has found that being active helps you stay healthy, be a better student and get a better GPA.
A full list of the Rec Center’s services is on their website, which also includes workout videos and hours. There is additional information about intramural sports, classes and more.
Getting involved in something at Truman, like intramural sports, could benefit mental health as well as physical health.
“It can be your outlet and your stress reliever, building your support system,” Joe Hamilton, counseling services assistant director, said.
Truman has more than 250 student clubs and organizations and the Union and Involvement Services’ website has information on each of them.
Aside from getting involved, Hamilton believes the best way for anyone to take care of their mental health is to get enough sleep. One way that students can help themselves get enough sleep is to practice good time management.
“One of the hardest things that you have to learn when you’re a new student is self-discipline,” Hamilton admitted. “You need to make sure that you are staying on top of your school work and not procrastinating.”
In order to do this, Hamilton recommended focusing on having a good school and social life balance, which can be difficult to do amid a busy schedule. Without balance, general stress and anxiety are more likely to come about.
“Overall, definitely the most common issue among students in general and just human beings is anxiety,” Hamilton said. “With a new experience in a new environment there can be a lot of concerns about social interactions, so that can lead to social anxiety.”
Hamilton noted that behind anxiety, depression is also one of the most common mental health concerns among students.
The number one sign of good mental health, according to Hamilton, is the ability to function well. In the case of college students this often means being able to go to class and do class work, hang out with friends and feel satisfied with those relationships, and having positive emotions overall.
“Everyone has their bad days and everyone has their good days,” Hamilton said. “[Good mental health] doesn’t mean you’re not ever sad or scared or worried, but for the most part on a daily basis are you functioning well and able to take care of your responsibilities and do the things that you enjoy.”